8th DISTRICT COURT
Criminal Division - Felony Charges
What is a felony?
Felonies are offenses for which the offender may, upon conviction, be imprisoned in a State prison.
The District Court does not adjudicate felony charges, however, it plays a key role in the felony process by determining whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support the charge(s) against the defendant.
The Felony Process
- Arrest: The court process begins with arrest and incarceration.
- District Court Arraignment: At this proceeding, a judge or magistrate will read the charge(s) against the defendant-the person charged with the crime. The defendant may demand a preliminary examination hearing so the judge can determine if there is sufficient evidence to support the charge(s). If a preliminary exam is demanded, a date will be scheduled for the exam. If the preliminary exam is waived, the matter will be immediately bound over to Circuit Court for arraignment.
- Release on Bond: Depending upon the seriousness of the charge and other factors, the defendant may continue to be held in custody, or the judge may set an amount of bond.
- Preliminary Exam: The Prosecutor will present evidence and witness testimony to the judge to substantiate the charge(s) against the defendant. The defendant and defense counsel will be present for the hearing. The judge will bind the case over to Circuit Court if there is sufficient evidence; in the absence of sufficient evidence, the judge may amend the charge or dismiss the case.
- Case Bound Over To Circuit Court: Once the case is bound over to Circuit Court, the District Court's role in the felony process is finished.